UK WordPress Hosting Long Term Review

I’ve been using Tsohost for 3.5 years now, after moving away from Fasthosts in 2012.  Every year or so I review my hosting provider; in 2013 Tsohost were still top of my list, in 2014 the quality of their technical support convinced my I was still with the right hosting provider.  It’s been a while since I last re-assessed.  I’ve seen some comments on my blog about tech support, and some complaints about lack of Lets Encrypt SSL support, so I thought I’d take another look, and ask; are they still the best UK WordPress Hosting provider?

Requirements

My requirements haven’t changed much since 2012, I’m still looking for;

  • WordPress hosting
  • One button installs
  • UK data centre
  • UK based technical support
  • Evidence of good customer engagement
  • Discount for annual billing

The only thing I wanted to add this time was SSL support, as I’d been using it since I switched to SSL in 2014.

Price

I have a relatively small budget to spend on hosting, and however good the provider is, if it costs more than my budget, it’s out of the running.  The first provider I looked at was the second placed provider in 2014 (5quidhost) but they’d been acquired by Tsohost, so it was back to the drawing board and a full cost comparison (shown below).

Company Annual

Cost

Sites MySQL Mailboxes SSL

Cost

Total

Cost

Tsohost Standard 35 4 5 25 0 35
Krystal Hosting Amethyst 40 2 20 0 40
Freshsites Medium 60 2 ? 10 0 60
Krystal Hosting Topaz 60 10 50 0 60
LCN Personal 39 1 5 25 25 64
Siteground Startup 40 1 0 80
LCN Professional 50 3 10 100 25 100
Godaddy Basic 54 1 ? ? 49 103
Godaddy Deluxe 72 1 ? ? 49 121
Squirrel Hosting M 47 1 6 600 70 164
34SP 180 3 ? 0 180

So there are two providers who sit clearly at the top, when comparing an annual cost including SSL.  At this point I can lay to rest one of the issues people have had in the past with Tsohost, their lack of Lets Encrypt support.  On 9th January, Tsohost announced the availability of Let’s Encrypt SSL Certificates, so SSL is now free.  Bit of a downer for me, who paid £25 for their SSL certificate, but that was my choice (and now I don’t need to renew it!)

Choice Choices

So my choice is £35 for Tsohost’s Standard package vs £40 for Krystal Hosting’s Amethyst package (if you’re checking, note that Tsohost’s prices include VAT and Krystal’s exclude VAT!)  If you compare the two on paper sometimes Krystal wins (Varnish cache, unlimited mailboxes) and sometimes Tsohost wins (7am-midnight phone support, 2.5GB web space).  The reviews of Krystal look good, but my experience of Tsohost is good too.

I couldn’t call it, so I signed up for Krystal’s Amethyst package (£1 for the first month and £10 for a domain plus VAT) and exported this site to a testing domain on Krystal, and as far as possible duplicated the setup.  So far, so good, everything works.  I liked the pre-installed Clef multi-factor authentication (so much so that I installed it on this site) and the automated upgrade of my site to 4.7.2 went smoothly (as it did on Tsohost).  The Let Encrypt certificate on Krystal works fine in all browsers.  I even ran Google’s Page Insights test over both sites to see how they compared and Tsohost scored slightly higher on average.

Tsohost wins it

So for now, given the cost of moving (in time) and the fact that Tsohost is still cheaper than anyone else for multi-site hosting, I’m sticking with them.  Both on paper, and in my experience, they’re still the best hosting provider out there (for me anyway).  I’ll continue to run the two providers side by side, just out of curiosity.  I’ll also test both providers tech support teams to the limits with annoying queries about performance tuning W3 Total Cache and WordPress Theme design customisation, and we’ll see how I get on!

Richard Bartlett

View more posts from this author

Leave a Reply